How many of us get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? Did I see you wince when you step on your cold floor? Been there. Done that. In my new house, I installed radiant heat under my bathroom floors and my feet have never looked back.
A couple of weeks ago, I met Sunny, of Affordable Elegance Flooring, a distributor of Carbonic Heat, an electric radiant heat product, at a New Jersey home show. What attracted me to his booth was the funny looking gray sheets displayed on his tables. I wondered how could this “gray paper” heat the floors in your bathroom? Where was the loop or wires that I was accustomed to see with competitor radiant heat products?
Listen to the podcast of Sunny explaining to me how Carbonic Heat’s electric radiant system works. He goes into great detail about the heating system, and I urge to listen. The podcast is only 9 minutes long.
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The cool concept behind this product is how thin the sheets are. Carbonic Heat touts their product as the thinnest electric radiant heat system on the market. It is .45 millimeters or 1/60th of an inch thick. The electric mat of NuHeat, a competitor, is 1/8 of an inch thick.I couldn’t understand why the thickness of the mat matter. Sunny explained that this system can be installed where floor height is a problem.
Why Radiant Heat?
I have radiant hot water tubes under my bathroom floors. It is the next best thing to chocolate chip cookies in the winter. If your feet are warm, your body is warm.
“Radiant heat delivers uncompromised comfort, the highest energy efficiency available (typically, 25% to 30% better that forced air), and – with no air grates, radiators or baseboard to factor-in – there’s no interference with room function or furniture layout. Radiant heat systems can also be fueled by many different energy sources, and sometimes even a combination of two or more, including fuel oil, gas, electric, solar, ground source heat, and solid fuels.” [Source.]
For a smaller area such as a bathroom, electric based radiant heat is the best choice.
Where Can Carbonic Heat be Installed?
According to the Carbonic Heat website,
“CarbonicHeat MultiFloor™ electric floor heating systems may be installed under ceramic tile, Saltillo tile, natural stone flooring. WoodFloor™ electric floor heating systems are designed for nail down wood flooring, specialty random length wood flooring, and engineered wood flooring.”
What Makes this Product Different?
There are several electric radiant heat floor products on the market. You might have heard of NuHeat, SunTouch, and WarmYours. Why does the world need another electric flooring heating system? Sunny explained that the Carbonic Heat system is different. There are no field wires and other conductors, which means that there is nothing to break when installed. As Sunny explained, a contractor could put a nail in the system, it would still work. Competitor systems have loops or wires. A nail in their systems could cause a cold spot.
How Does it Work?
No wires? Sunny had me stumped. How does this radiant heat product work?
“Flat copper wire elements run on either side of the carbon based film with one side hot and one side neutral. When electrified the carbon material acts as a resistor heating the entire film resulting in uniform heat with no hot spots or cold spots.”
The floor system uses infrared technology to heat your space.
What about Electrical Consumption?
Heating by electricity can be quite expensive. However, the Company states that the system draws 15 watts of electricity per square foot and 98% of its electricity is converted to heat. The system shuts off when it reaches the desired temperature.
What about EMF?
The minute I heard that Carbonic heats the space with electricity, EMF issues started to dance in my head. Over the years, health concerns have been raised over the exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). Most recently, cell phone radiation has become an open topic of discussion with the Environmental Working Group reporting that “significantly higher risks for brain and salivary gland tumors among people who have used cell phones for 10 years or longer.”
I addressed my concern with Sunny and he assured me that this product emits a low level of EMFs. However, Charles Bryant, Senior Writer for How Stuff Works states in his article, “Could radiant floor heating systems be related to some cancers?”
“[a]s far as electric radiant floor heating systems go, most manufacturers go out of their way to make sure there isn’t a health hazard by shielding the wiring. Americans are generally exposed to less than one microtesla — the unit of measurement for magnetic fields — of EMF every day. Unshielded RFH systems can emit 20 to 40 times that amount. There’s only one non-biased third party that tests a radiant floor heating system’s EMF. The test is called the Radiant Electric Emissions Test (REET). Many companies perform their own testing and profess to be safe, but only those that use the REET procedure can make a substantiated claim.”
I could only find one review of the product, and there isn’t any specifications on the site. This worried me somewhat. However, I still think this product is very interesting. If you are thinking of trying this product, make sure you obtain good references from people who have installed this electric radiant heat product. In addition, ask the Company for specifications for your review. And last but not least, ask the Company if they performed the REET procedure to test their product for EMFs.
Join the Conversation:
- Have you used this product? If so, what was your experience? Hard to install? Call backs?
- Would you use this product?
- How do you feel about EMFs and electric radiant heating?